Steve Irwin killed by stingray

Steve Irwin, the Australian television personality and naturalist known as the Crocodile Hunter, has been killed by a stingray’s barb while diving, it was reported today.

Mr Irwin, 44, was filming underwater at the Great Barrier Reef when the accident happened, according to the Sydney Daily Telegraph website.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation said Mr Irwin had been diving around Lowe Isles Reef, near Port Douglas, about 1,260 miles north of Brisbane.

“Steve was hit by a stingray in the chest,” said local diving operator Steve Edmondson. “He probably died from a cardiac arrest from the injury.”

Police and ambulance officials confirmed Mr Irwin had died and said his family had been advised.

Mr Irwin’s Crocodile Hunter series was first broadcast in Australia in 1992 and has since been shown around the world on the Discovery channel. He was known for his enthusiasm for wildlife and his catchphrase, “Crikey”.

His public image was dented in 2004 when he held his baby son in one arm while feeding crocodiles at a zoo.

Later that year, he was accused of getting too close to penguins, a seal and humpback whales in Antarctica while making a documentary. Irwin denied any wrongdoing.

He is survived by his widow Terri, their daughter Bindi Sue, 8, and son Bob, 2.